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Processes » Certain Special Processes » Matrimonial Processes » Process for the dispensation of a marriage ratum et non consummatum
Canon 1697. The parties alone, or indeed one of them even if the other is unwilling, have the right to seek the favour of a dispensation from a ratified and non-consummated marriage.
Canon 1698. §1 Only the Apostolic See gives judgement on the fact of the non-consummation of a marriage and on the existence of a just reason for granting the dispensation.

§2 The dispensation, however, is given by the Roman Pontiff alone.
Canon 1699. §1 The diocesan Bishop of the place of domicile or quasidomicile of the petitioner is competent to accept the petition seeking the dispensation. If the request is well founded, he must arrange for the instruction of the process.

§2 If, however, the proposed case has special difficulties of a juridical or moral order, the diocesan Bishop is to consult the Apostolic See.

§3 Recourse to the Apostolic See is available against the decree of a Bishop who rejects the petition.
Canon 1700. §1 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1681, the Bishop is to assign the instruction of these processes, in a stable manner or case by case, to his own tribunal or to that of another diocese, or to a suitable priest.

§2 If, however, a judicial plea has been introduced to declare the nullity of the same marriage, the instruction of the process is to be assigned to the same tribunal.
Canon 1701. §1 In these processes the defender of the bond must always intervene.

§2 An advocate is not admitted, but the Bishop can, because of the difficulty of a case, allow the petitioner or respondent to have the assistance of an expert in the law.
Canon 1702. In the instruction of the process both parties are to be heard. As far as possible, and provided they can be reconciled with the nature of these processes, the canons concerning the collection of evidence in the ordinary contentious process and in cases of nullity of marriage are to be followed.
Canon 1703. §1 There is no publication of the acts, but if the judge sees that, because of the evidence tendered, a serious obstacle stands in the way of the plea of the petitioner or the exception of the respondent, he can prudently make it known to the party concerned.

§2 To the party requesting it the judge can show a document which has been presented or evidence which has been received, and he can set a time for the production of arguments.
Canon 1704. §1 When the instruction is completed, the judge instructor is to give all the acts, together with a suitable report, to the Bishop. The Bishop is to express his
Opinion on the merits of the case in relation to the alleged fact of non-consummation, the adequacy of the reason for dispensation, and the opportuneness of the favour.

§2 If the instruction of the process has been entrusted to another tribunal in accordance with can. 1700, the observations in favour of the bond of marriage are to be prepared in that same tribunal. The Opinion spoken of in §1 is, however, the province of the Bishop who gave the commission and the judge instructor is to give him, together with the acts, a suitable report on the case.
Canon 1705. §1 The Bishop is to transmit all the acts to the Apostolic See together with his Opinion and the observations of the defender of the bond.

§2 If, in the judgement of the Apostolic See, a supplementary instruction is required, this will be notified to the Bishop, with a statement of the items on which the acts are to be supplemented.

§3 If, however, the answer of the Apostolic See is that the non-consummation is not proven from the evidence produced, then the expert in law mentioned in can. 1701
§2 can inspect the acts of the case, though not the Opinion of the Bishop, in the tribunal office, in order to decide whether anything further of importance can be brought forward to justify another submission of the petition.
Canon 1706. The rescript of dispensation is sent by the Apostolic See to the Bishop. He is to notify the parties of the rescript, and also as soon as possible direct the parish priests of the place where the marriage was contracted and of the place where baptism was received, to make a note of the granting of the dispensation in the registers of marriage and baptism.

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